Picked up this graphic at a Jeff Speck session at CNU25. Abundantly true of a city like Boston, where it makes no sense that our mayor still isn’t fully behind appropriate funding for active mobility and Vision Zero, or applying, right now, political will to breaking down the institutional barriers that are holding us back.
I had the opportunity to attend the 25th annual gathering of the Congress for the New Urbanism in Seattle from Wednesday through Friday this past week. CNU, as the organization is called, has been more effective than it admits to itself in moving thinking in this country in the direction of walkable, connected, and contextual development patterns. And I do believe the organization’s charter, which stands as a kind of manifesto, is worth reading in full. It has stood the test of time. Take a read of this recap over at Public Square and take a look at the charter itself here: Charter of the New Urbanism. I think the opening sentence gets it very much right about the underlying nature of the community-building work that still lies before us:
The Congress for the New Urbanism views disinvestment in central cities, the spread of placeless sprawl, increasing separation by race and income, environmental deterioration, loss of agricultural lands and wilderness, and the erosion of society’s built heritage as one interrelated community-building challenge.
WalkUP Roslindale is excited to announce another milestone toward making the Roslindale Gateway Path a reality. After completing a vision report (two-page summary) with students from the Tufts Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program just about a year ago, we raised donations to fund a “10% conceptual plan” for the path by an engineering firm, the Horsley Witten Group (“Sustainable Environmental Solutions”). This study has just wrapped up and we are holding a public event on Monday, May 8, 2017 at 6:30pm at the Weld Hill Research Building in the Arnold Arboretum, 1300 Centre Street, to present the final product and invite more community feedback and support.
Our past events for this project have had a big turnout, and we hope this one will as well. As a preview of the report, a couple of images below show in more detail the proposed route for “section 1” of the path, starting at the Roslindale Village Commuter Rail stop, as well as a visual rendering of a section of the path.
Please RSVP so we can prepare for the right size group! Spread the word, and don’t forget to join for a Jane’s Walk in the area of the path the day before (May 7).
WUR/American Legion Corridor stalwarts Lisa Beatman and Rick Yoder were joined by your correspondent and Steve Gag (in the photo, far left) in participating in the Haley School’s 4th walk this morning to raise awareness about safe routes to school for students to walk and the present lack of those routes for the Haley. You will note that BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang, whom we understand is now a Roslindale resident, is pictured in the first row, blue polo shirt. It was great to see him, City Councilor Andrea Campbell (I think she might have taken this picture), and everyone else who both organized and participated from BPS and the school (both students, staff, and parents). Those with more information on this (looking at you, Lisa and Rick), please let us know more in the comments and tell us how we can be more supportive of this effort!
We brought everyone’s attention to this meeting about a week ago and gave our thoughts about ways the revised 9-unit, 18-space proposal could be improved, based largely on the reaction from the group at the LANA meeting earlier in the month. Seems like the development team was listening.
And now to our report, very briefly: This was, all in all, a downright cordial meeting, well run by Dan Murphy from the Mayor’s ONS. I would say that the overall sense in the room was:
- that 9 residential units was more or less going to work for this location,
- that at 13 the number of parking spaces seemed tight to some and more than ample to others (your correspondent felt it was more than necessary, didn’t take full advantage of the location’s close proximity to the Commuter Rail/Roslindale Square/Washington Street Bus Corridor, and would both drive up the cost of the units and encourage more vehicular traffic), and
- that the reduction in vehicle spaces was allowing for bicycle parking for 13 bicycles and some buffering green space between the surface parking and the property to the rear.
Certainly some attention still needs to be paid to the overall design, which feels too by-the-book (and from not that great a book), and the vehicular access could use some thinking about how to better manage the exiting and entering of vehicles. The discussion at the end focused on further process – it sounds like the developer will file revised plans with ISD soon and start the Board of Appeal’s zoning relief process, which will likely take on the order of 3 to 6 months to get through, to be followed by BPDA Design Review. WalkUP Roslindale will look to submit a comment letter in connection with the Board of Appeal hearing. We will share it when we have it ready. In the meantime, thoughts are more than welcome in the comments.
Just a reminder that the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services is holding a community meeting this Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 6:30pm at the Roslindale Community Center (6 Cummins Highway) regarding a proposed development at 874-878 South Street (near the intersection with Walter). Details:
It’s been almost 2 years, but the 874-878 South Street proposal that was the subject of a WUR long-form blog post in July 2015 is finally returning with a revised proposal.
The meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, at 6:30 pm at the Roslindale Community Center. Flyer for meeting here.
Based on what was said by the property owner and his attorney at the LANA meeting a week or so ago, it sounds like the proposal will be for 9 residential units with 18 off-street parking spaces. For those keeping score at home, that’s a reduction from the original proposal of 6 residential units and an increase of 3 off-street parking spaces. Revised plans were not available at the LANA meeting, though they will reportedly be available this coming Tuesday.
For the record, I continue to live 2 blocks from this location. From my own perspective and given this location within walking distance of the commuter rail station and Roslindale Square, the revised unit count is lower than it should be and the number of off-street parking spaces is at least 4 spaces too many. I would really prefer a 1-to-1 space to unit ratio at this location. While I recognize some neighbors see this issue differently, on-street parking issues at this location and along the stretch of South Street and the intersecting streets toward the commuter rail are relatively minimal, except on Sunday mornings. Increasing the parking space count here may prevent there ever being an issue from this development related to on-street parking, but it will tend to increase vehicle traffic by encouraging car ownership by development residents and, to the extent automatically included with each unit, will increase the cost of each unit in the development. Accordingly, in addition to wanting to see the revised design, I will be interested in a discussion of the parking space count, how the revised plans locate those spaces on the site, what kind of space is left over, and how much consideration is or isn’t being given to bicycle parking and encouraging bicycling and walking as well as zipcar and transit use.
Here’s the photo:
I count a total of 13 in the photo who held signs (there are a couple of fellow travelers mixed in) and one of our number took it, so that’s 14 – one more person than we had signs. Messrs. Guptill and Tedrow are in the running for perfect 25 mph standout attendance!!!
We here at WalkUP Roslindale have been talking up BTD’s Neighborhood Slow Streets (NSS) program since they released the application package a few weeks ago. We even went so far as to host a workshop a bit over a month ago to inform and encourage our neighbors all across this great neighborhood to band together and apply. At this point, we are aware of at least 4 separate NSS applications in Roslindale that are in production and almost certain to be submitted by the March 24 deadline. They are listed below with contact information, their draft area maps, and, where available, links to the online surveys for residents in those areas to weigh in on their concerns and support for the concept of making our residential streets safer through calmed traffic:
Longfellow Area (from Knoll to Congreve, between Centre and South/Walter plus the spur of South from the Walter-South intersection to the commuter rail station): LINK to survey. Contact: Rob Orthman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lower South Street (South/Bussey intersection down through the Archdale bridge, covering the side streets between South and Washington to Firth and then crossing Washington to pick up the side streets between Florence and Washington down to Cummins). SURVEY LINK. Contact: Steve Gag, email@example.com.
Metropolitan Hill/Beech Street (Metropolitan to Beech, Washington to Poplar): LINK here. Contact: Sarah Kurpiel Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mount Hope/Canterbury (residential side streets off of American Legion, from Walk Hill and Mount Hope to Cummins). Contact: Lisa Beatman, email@example.com.